default.vcl insufficient

Tim Kientzle tim at
Fri Dec 5 19:48:42 CET 2008

On Dec 5, 2008, at 3:45 AM, Dag-Erling Smørgrav wrote:

> Tim Kientzle <tim at> writes:
>> According to the "Getting Started" guide on the website, I should be
>> able to just run varnish with the default VCL, but that doesn't
>> actually work.
> Yes, it does.  Varnish requires that you specify *either* a VCL script
> *or* a backend on the command line.  What you did wrong was that you
> specified an empty VCL script.  The default VCL script is a copy of  
> the
> build-in default script that Varnish uses if you don't specify one,  
> and
> is provided for documentation purposes only; you should never use it.

I think you just managed to say both "Yes, it does work to
just run varnish with the default VCL" and "you should never
use the default VCL script."  ;-)

In either case, the online documentation could use an update.

Under "Installing Varnish from source", it claims you should
configure, make, make install, then:

   "# Start Varnish by typing: varnishd -f /etc/varnish/default.vcl"

Which clearly doesn't actually work.

It's good to have an easy "make sure it works" step here.
I would suggest providing a separate "varnish.vcl" file specifically
for people to customize that by default is just enough to get
varnish running, installing this along side default.vcl, and
editing the documentation here to refer to "varnish.vcl".

Your comment above should also be added to the varnishd.1 man page
for the -b option to make clear that it's required if there is
no backend defined in the specified VCL file.


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